Dramatic video footage shows a village store being smashed open in a ram-raid and the moment one culprit was hauled out of bed by officers swarming his home.
Liam Scott had been out of prison for less than a year when he and two “confederates” looted Alberta Holiday Park in Seasalter and the Co-op in Teynham, in what a judge described as “planned, professional and determined” hits.
Their crime spree in the early hours of December 30 last year resulted in significant damage and losses totalling more than £30,000, Canterbury Crown Court was told.
Following Scott being jailed for more than two-and-a-half years, Kent Police has released CCTV footage of the Co-op raid, with a stolen Land Rover Defender being driven into the entrance, and the trio then stepping over the glass from a broken door.
In a separate video from body-worn cameras, Scott is seen being hauled out of bed by officers and arrested during a dawn raid.
The court heard that having stolen the Defender from outside the owner’s home in Faversham at about 1am, the 24-year-old was captured on CCTV reversing the £10,000 vehicle into the caravan park clubhouse 45 minutes later.
Scott and his accomplices, who are still at large, could be seen wearing hooded dark clothing, facial coverings and gloves as they went to considerable efforts to steal a cashpoint machine.
Attempts to lever open the ATM with crowbars and other implements failed, as did their bid to drag it away when the tow rope snapped.
But determined not to leave empty-handed, they nabbed a cigarette dispensing machine and two bottles of alcohol before driving away in the Defender.
Prosecutor Caroline Knight told the court the vehicle was seen half-an-hour later at a fuel station on the A299 Thanet Way but drove off without paying for £30 of diesel.
Within two hours, the raiders had targeted the Co-op in London Road, again reversing the vehicle into the shop entrance.
They were then caught on camera trying to force open the cigarette cabinet shutters before nabbing two tills containing about £1,500 in cash.
The Defender, said to be a rare model, was later found abandoned.
Detailing the extent of the damage and the financial loss to all those targeted, Miss Knight said: “A car, said to be worth £10,000, had £10,000 worth of damage.
“While there is likely to be an insurance payment, the loser doesn’t yet know how much that will be and, in any event, because of the nature of the vehicle he is unlikely to be able to replace it.”
The holiday park was left with a bill of more than £14,000, with damage to a fence, bespoke doors and frame, the ATM and a wall.
Damage to the Co-op amounted to £5,000, with the tills also having to be replaced at a cost of £2,000.
Miss Knight told the court: “These are clearly professional burglaries, stealing for profit and targeting premises where they know there will be cash.”
Scott, of Lower Road, Faversham, was recognised from the CCTV and arrested six days later.
He gave a ‘no comment’ interview but later pleaded guilty to two offences of burglary, as well as theft, making off without payment and driving without insurance.
Phil Rowley, defending, said cocaine and alcohol abuse following the death of Scott’s father and losing work both as a roofer and groundworker had “contributed” to his offending.
But he told the court the dad of nine-year-old twins, who has another child on the way, was now “focusing a good deal on how to conduct himself” once released from custody.
Following his arrest, Scott was recalled to prison to serve the remainder of a two years and five months sentence imposed at the same court in October 2022 for 12 break-ins at businesses in Whitstable, Seasalter, Faversham, Herne Bay, Aylesham and Ash.
But at his sentencing hearing for his latest crimes on Friday, Judge Mark Weekes criticised the fact the punishment he was to dish out had to start that same day and not when his licence expires in August.
Jailing Scott for 31 months and describing his record as “appalling”, the judge said: “I am unable today to impose what I think you richly deserve, which is a consecutive sentence.
“In common with many of my brother judges who have expressed this view over a recent period, I am frustrated at my inability to do so.
“But I must inevitably follow the law which in my opinion is ripe for review and amendment.”
Scott was also banned from driving for 21-and-a-half months.
DC Aaron Chapman, Kent Police’s investigating officer, said after his sentencing: “Scott’s reckless behaviour on the night of these offences caused huge damage and loss to the vehicle owner and the businesses involved.
“I am pleased our swift investigation has seen him identified as a suspect, arrested, charged and now jailed less than six weeks after the offences took place.
“I hope the case sends out a message to anyone considering such criminal activity: ‘We will track you down and hold you accountable for your actions’.”